Saving money is something we are all interested in right now. Thanks to the rising costs of living, many of us are feeling the pinch so making cutbacks could be necessary.
One area where it is difficult to make cutbacks is our food shopping, however. We need to eat, after all, so we shouldn’t be tempted to skip a few meals in an attempt to save money. But as the price of groceries is rising in line with everything else, it’s important to find ways to reduce our food expenses. Thankfully, there are lots of things we can do in this regard as we discuss below.
#1: Make a shopping list
How many times have you gone into the supermarket looking for one thing and come out with items you didn’t expect to buy? Many of us do it, often because we are tempted by something that catches our eye (or our nose) when we are walking down the food aisles. As such, we overspend and possibly receive a heart-stopping moment of realization when the cashier lets us know the cost of the goods in our baskets.
To reduce overspending, make a shopping list before you go into the supermarket. Write down everything you need for your weekly food shop and perhaps write yourself a reminder to NOT buy anything inessential.
This is also your way to avoid certain food aisles as you won’t need to walk down them if you are only heading to areas of the store that relate to your list. As such, you should be less prone to temptation and impulse buying.
#2: Use voucher codes and coupons
There are loads of websites online that offer voucher codes so do a Google search and check out what is available. These codes can be used when you’re doing an online food shop so enter them at the checkout of the store you use and benefit from the savings you make.
NetVoucherCodes is one such website so they are worth considering. They also offer helpful money-saving tips too so check out some of their guides. In the context of this article, you might want to check out NetVoucherCodes money-saving tips when cooking, for example.
Be sure to make use of any coupons that come through your door too. Especially if they advertise savings on the items you would normally buy at the supermarket, it’s worth keeping them as you will be able to take them with you the next time you shop.
#3: Stop buying ready meals
When you’re short on time, a ready meal that you can put in the microwave can certainly be useful. However, they are rarely very good for you as they are often overloaded with salt and sugar, and they are often quite expensive too.
Instead, buy fresh ingredients when you’re at the supermarket and make your own meals at home. Admittedly, some of these ingredients may be expensive but as they will come in handy for lots of meals rather than just one, they can still be cost-effective. If you cook in bulk, you can also store some of your meals in the freezer. This way, if you are ever short on time at home, you could take something you have prepared earlier and put it in the microwave!
#4: Compare prices online
Before you decide on where to do your weekly shopping, check out store prices online. If you can get the same items for cheaper elsewhere, it makes sense to use a different store, provided you don’t have to drive miles out of your way to get to them.
When comparing prices, you could also order online instead of visiting the store in person. This way, you will get to see the total of your shopping before you make a payment and you will have the opportunity to delete anything if you have gone over budget. Of course, there is sometimes a delivery cost to consider so this is something to bear in mind if you do decide to shop online.
Check out these grocery store price comparison apps to save time in your search.
#5: Don’t shop on an empty stomach
You will be less tempted to impulse buy if you aren’t hungry. Cakes, buns, and other tempting products will look less enticing when you have already eaten and have no room for anything else in your belly. So, perhaps do your weekly shopping after you have eaten lunch or any other meal as your trolley should end up being less full than your stomach!
#5: Buy unbranded goods
We all have our favorite brands but as these are sometimes more expensive than unbranded items, such as supermarket-own products, we end up paying more than perhaps we should on the food we buy.
So, don’t simply reach for the items you usually buy when browsing the shelves. Look for similar products at cheaper prices and consider adding them to your trolley instead. If they taste the same (or better) than the products you tend to buy, consider making them a regular purchase. Of course, when it comes to such items as toilet rolls and other paper products, buying generic shouldn’t matter as they should be the same as the more expensive items anyway.
#6: Shop in off-peak hours
At certain times of the day, supermarkets sell certain products for cheaper, especially those that are perishable. It’s usually at the end of the day that stores do this although you might also find some items in the early part of the morning if they have anything leftover from the night before. Such items are often put in a special section of the store or are labeled with a specific colored sticker, so find out more by asking staff at your local supermarket.
#7: Grow your own food
Admittedly, you can’t make your own pizzas in the garden (if only) but you can grow the ingredients to put on top of them. Such ingredients can also be used for a variety of other foods, so if you have the space outdoors to grow a few carrots, potatoes, beans, and other types of fresh food, consider the option.
Check out our guide for growing your own food for some helpful information. And then consider the foods you regularly buy from the supermarket and work out which items can be created from the foods you grow in your garden.
Don’t have a garden? Fear not, as you can also grow vegetables indoors. Click on the link for some useful tips and an idea of the type of vegetables you could be growing.
#8: Beware of special offers
When supermarkets advertise special offers, it can be easy to fall for them. After all, a ‘buy one get one free’ offer can seem attractive so you might be tempted to add the relevant items to your trolley. Before you do, however, ask yourself these two questions:
- Are these items that I would normally buy?
- Can I save money by buying a cheaper alternative?
There’s no point opting for a special offer if you don’t normally buy the items in question or if you can find the same items for cheaper elsewhere.
Of course, if they are items that you planned on buying anyway and there is a chance that you will make savings, add them to your trolley. What we are essentially saying is think before you buy!
So, there you have it, 8 ways to save on your weekly food shop. If you have any other ideas for our readers, please leave us a comment below and share your helpful tips with us.